Published May 22, 2010When Brooklyn's Sleigh Bells exploded across indie music blogs in late 2009, one surprising fact about the noisy dance pop duo was that guitarist/producer Derek Miller was in Floridian metalcore innovators Poison the Well. Wait, what? "In Poison the Well I was always trying to mix heavy stuff with melodic stuff," Miller explains. "I think Sleigh Bells have the same goal. You have this harsh, rhythmic, blown-out sound, but then you have these sweet melodies and female presence to balance it out."
The sweet melodies come courtesy of Alexis Krauss; together they have found a unique sound that brings together candy-coated vocal hooks and violent metal riffs with crashing drumbeats. What's most intriguing about Sleigh Bells, however, is Miller's production style, which uses extreme levels of speaker-blowing dissonance. Surprisingly, for their debut album, Treats, the two chose to reuse their demos.
"We did a new version of 'Crown On the Ground' and we didn't like it as much," Miller says. "So I just put a heavier kick-drum underneath the demo and mastered it. It's identical, but with a little more bottom end." M.I.A. couldn't agree more with what they're doing. Not only did she sign Sleigh Bells to her N.E.E.T. label, but she also hired Miller to produce a track for her upcoming album. "It really gave me the confidence to do the Sleigh Bells record because I was maybe going to get a co-producer. But I just felt so good after that."